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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

New Squad Structure

Dear swimmer / parent,


You should by now have received a letter from Kerry explaining the new squad structure at the club and advising of the relevant squad for you (or your son/daughter).  I have received comment that these changes seem to have come rather "out of the blue", and some people appear to be unhappy about specific changes that have been made, so I thought it appropriate to write a further note giving the context of the changes.   


The new squad structure was actually announced at the AGM and the minutes of that meeting have been sent to all members as well as being posted on the website.  Unfortunately negotiations on the availability of pool time, particularly at the University, have taken longer than anticipated with the result that the letters could only go out last week.  In order to give a more reasonable notice period after the mid-term holiday, we decided to postpone the start of the new timetable to the week of 24th October.  I know this only gives you 1-2 weeks notice of the detailed schedule, but unfortunately this was the best we could do in the circumstances.   Also, there was a last minute hitch with the pool time that we had been promised on Sunday afternoon/evenings, which has meant that the extra sessions we are planning for the Bronze A, Bronze B and Club squads have been postponed.  We hope to have this sorted within a few weeks, and will let everyone know at that time.  Apologies for the inconvenience.  


The Committee and Coaching staff are excited by the new squad structure, as we hope you are too.  After long and at times arduous negotiations, we have been able to secure additional external funding and additional pool time, which means that a large number of our swimmers have been promoted on this occasion and most now have access to increased swimming opportunities.  Some of the sessions may not be at the easiest time of day (5.30am starts and 9.00pm finishes) but I'm afraid this is the reality of being a competitive swimmer (and parents).  There is great competition for the best pool time, especially in high quality facilities such as The University and The Peak, so I believe we have actually done remarkably well to secure the package that we now have.   I hope you all agree! 


Two new squads have been created. 

  • The Stirling Integrated Performance Squad (SIPS) incorporates both University swimmers and the top club swimmers from the Gold squad.  SIPS provides another stepping stone in the swimming development pathway.  There will ne no increase in the number of training sessions available for the Gold squad swimmers who train with SIPS, but the swimmers will benefit from training alonside their University counterparts, and for some of them it may bridging the gap to the elite performance squads of the Intensive Training Squad based at the University.
  • The Club Squad fulfils a different need.  Indeed it is designed to fulfil two purposes, based on feedback the Committee received on the old squad structure.  Firstly, we wanted to give the swimmers in the old Skills Development squad more swimming opportunities, which will act as a springboard into either the Bronze B (up to 10 year old) or Bronze A (up to 12 year old) squads.  There are currently 2 and will be 3 weekly sessions for this squad, rather than the 1 session that was open to Skills Development.  Secondly, we wanted to provide a place in the club for swimmers from other squads who want to reduce their commitment but still keep training.  Hopefully this will be a mix that works - the older and more experienced swimmers helping to encourage the younger swimmers - but we will review this format and make adjustments as necessary in the future. 

The monthly fees for the new Club squad were set by the Management Committee meeting on 16th October at £25 - alothough this is an increase in fees compared with the Skills Development squad it is significantly less than the increase in available pool time compared with the old squad.   In all the other squads we have kept the monthly fees stable, while at the same time managing to increase available pool time for most of our swimmers.  For your information, the full set of squad fees is shown in the table below.



Number of weekly training sessions

Monthly squad fees (£)




Junior Gold






Bronze A



Bronze B






Junior Disability





Finally, in the letters for the Club Squad the training times were inadvertently missed off.  Sorry about that.  Training will be on Monday evening 8-9pm at Wallace High and Thursday evening 7.30-8.30pm at Stirling High.  Details of the Sunday session will follow as soon as we can.  


I hope this email helps to answer any questions that you may have had (and some of you have already emailed in).  In particular I hope you can see that there has been a lot of effort and thought behind the changes in squad structure, with the aim of benefiting the entire club.  However, If you have any further questions, both Kerry and I will be available next Saturday 23rd October during the Grand Prix, so I would encourage you to come and see us then.  


Otherwise, I wish you all more happy swimming.  


David Rogerson



Stirling Swimming